If you plan to wear contact lenses on a trip of any length, you will need to pack replacement lenses that are either disposable or reusable and supplies for sanitizing reusable lenses. It is also a good idea to be able to rely on a pair of prescription safety glasses in case anything goes wrong with your contacts during your getaway. Here are five of the best travel tips for contact lens wearers.
1. Pack Your Vision Gear
If you will wear contact lenses while traveling, you should bring at least one spare pair of reusable lenses. These lenses will require equipment such as a leak-proof case and contact lens solution. If you plan to use disposable lenses, you will need a sufficient supply for the duration of your trip.
Most contact wearers recommend packing a travel-sized bottle of contact solution in your carry on bag and packing a larger bottle in your checked luggage while flying. The U.S. Transportation Security Administration permits 3.4 ounce (100 mL) containers or smaller to be carried on board a plane in a clear, quart-sized plastic bag. It may also be possible to declare a full-size container of contact solution as a medical liquid at a security checkpoint.
2. Bring Your Prescription
Have your eyes checked at least a few weeks before you take a big trip, particularly if you plan to be away from home for an extended period of time or are traveling internationally. The method for taking prescription measurements is in use around the world.
To obtain replacement contacts or a pair of glasses, all you should need to do is present your current prescription to an optical service. Only order contacts from reputable international eyewear retailers to ensure that products meet all safety standards.
3. Don’t Forget Your Sunglasses
Wearing contacts while swimming or spending time in and around water can raise your risk of contracting an amoeba-borne, bacterial or fungal eye infection. You may prefer to wear prescription sunglasses or goggles that have prescription step diopter or custom lenses for UV protection and eye safety.
If you plan to swim in contacts, opt for daily disposable lenses and wear goggles. Exercise caution when wearing soft contacts while swimming. These lenses may change shape, swell or even stick to your eyes after exposure to water. You can also choose contact lenses with built-in UV protection.
4. Pack Prescription Safety Glasses
If your eyes become dry while traveling or you plan to sleep on a long flight, you may prefer to wear glasses during your trip. Sleeping in contact lenses that are not designed for this use may restrict the amount of oxygen that reaches your eyes, which can result in corneal damage. The difficulty of comfortable and sanitary insertion and removal on a flight can make glasses a better choice while traveling.
It is also helpful to have glasses on hand after you arrive at your destination in case of eye irritation. This is particularly a risk in locations with unfamiliar allergens or in the event that contacts get exposed to water. A pair of safety glasses can stand up to wear and tear during travel, but should be stored in a cushioned case to keep the lenses from becoming scratched.
5. Practice Good Hygiene
Always sanitize your hands before inserting or removing contacts. Wash hands with soap and water and dry thoroughly before touching your eyes or lenses. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if you do not have access to soap. Rinsing your hands off with bottled water afterward and drying your fingers on a clean cloth can reduce stinging while preventing contamination.
Traveling in contacts requires advance planning. Be sure to pack more contact lenses and any supplies necessary to safely store and clean reusable lenses. It is always a good idea to bring a backup pair of eyeglasses with you when you travel. You may get the most benefit out of a pair of prescription safety glasses.